freeCodeCamp vs Coding Bootcamp vs College

Thoughts & Opinions?

  1. Is a four/two year CS degree worth it in 2019?
  2. Can colleges keep up with the industry demand?
  3. Should coding boot camp cost $10k, $20k or $30k?
  4. Is coding boot camp the evolution of conventional education?
  5. Are non-traditional hires undervalued?
1 Like

Have you read Quincy’s Coding Bootcamp Handbook yet?

It depends. Pursuing a university degree places different burdens on students depending on many factors. Not all degrees are created equal. Some students get much more value out of a traditional college experience than others. If I was talking to a young person without a degree who wanted to go into programming, I would suggest that they consider a BS as a first choice.

Employment and education projections in the US indicate that students are enrolling in CS degree programs at a slower rate than job growth in programming-related fields.

I don’t know. Maybe. It depends on what value they are offering. I continue to be extremely distrustful of for-profit education/training businesses. At those higher prices, students are now paying a higher sticker-price than many good 4 year degrees. The only savings then is in time, which is one reason why I encourage young people who can go to university should consider it first.

I think it’s an evolution of trade school, which isn’t the point of a traditional college.

I think that it’s much harder to assess the value of non-traditional applicants.


If your goal is to be a web developer then a Bachelor’s in CS will give you a lot of information that you will not need plus leave out stuff that you will need. (For example, at my college I don’t think the CS major had any classes on HTML or CSS. Maybe students were expected to know that stuff already, I don’t know.) But you will hopefully learn a lot about programming practices and how to think like a programmer which will be useful in any tech field.

I’m very skeptical of bootcamps nowadays. I think that the bootcamp students that succeed do so because of their own drive and discipline. So they could have saved the money and taught themselves for free. But it works differently for every individual. For a field like web development I think bootcamps are more applicable than a college degree (especially if you already have a degree in something else), but they are in general over-priced in my opinion.

Hi @ensoxyz,
first of all welcome to the forum.

I am doing a Bachelor in Computer Science in Italy and I
can’t really speak for courses done in another countries since I have no experience with that.
Having said that, I do think that, if you can stay on track and don’t spend too much time in it, the CS degree is an extremely good option for whatever field of the market you want to take.
The course (at least the one I’ve seen) is not specific on a single field and does give you a really good bird’s eye view from which you can surely benefit. As an example they teach: Object Oriented Programming, Algorithms and Data structures, Math Analysis (a must for advanced topics), Relational Databases, Design Patterns and formal documentation (like UML), Fundamental of Security, Fundamental of networks, Automata theory, Statistics and Information theory,…
Usually there is also a pool of other subjects from which you can choose 6 subjects. In my course some of those “choices” were: image processing, algorithms 2, non relational databases, microcontrollers, software project management, mobile development (mostly Android since the based programming language that was taught is Java), functional programming.
I do believe it’s an extremely good choice unless you have to spend an outrageous amount of money (or get indebted) for it. Here the annual cost doesn’t get over 3500€ (the cost depends on the economic situation of the family) so it is doable.
There are also online courses that provide pretty much the same courses, but in my opinion a degree from an official university puts you in a better position when looking for work (although this depends very much from place to place).

As it has already been stated by @ArielLeslie, computer science is possibly one of the very few fields that has way more demand than offer. There are A LOT of open positions and not enough skilled people to fill them.
When I resigned from my previous job to continue going to university, I went to the internship office of my university to look for someone that could fill in the position of developer I was leaving empty.
The clerk told me that, among the (ex) students that got the degree, there were none available because they had all been placed and that the CS faculty was the only one with an employability at 100%.

In my opinion all those prices are too high, but also this depends very much on what they teach, how they teach it and how it is compared to a university course.
I’m not a fan of the bootcamp methodology. Too little time doesn’t help in learning.
And honestly I think they are a scam.

I think it’s rather a regression. On the other hand, I do consider as evolution universities that do online courses (there are many that also put on online platforms some free course).

Generally speaking a degree does prove that you have some knowledge on important topics and it’s easier to evaluate rather than someone that shows up without one.
Online certificates aren’t a valid indicator of what a person can do. Someone could easily cheat to get one without many problems.
Also, at least here, in the university you have mandatory projects and internships to do and those turn out to be an invaluable source of experience that you can easily put in your resume/portfolio when applying for jobs.


Sorry for reposting, there is this wonderful collection of courses online that teaches the same topics of a university cs degree. I think it’s worth giving it a look if university is not an available option OR if the employers where you live don’t particularly care about an official degree OR just for pure selfish knowledge :joy:
It’s from the Open Source Society University:

1 Like

From a startup-ish hiring perspective:

Is a four/two year CS degree worth it in 2019?

Yes. If I have two resumes both with zero developer work experience and a collection of small projects, the applicatant with the degree wins every time (it’s just a safer bet).

That doesn’t mean a degree is required, but it does hold value when applying (at least for a junior role – senior/mid-level roles are 100% based on past experience).

Can colleges keep up with the industry demand?

Not sure exactly what you’re asking here. I guess it depends on your location/school.

Should coding boot camp cost $10k, $20k or $30k?

No idea. With the exception of top-tier bootcamps, these are on the same playing field as self-taught projects IMO.

Is coding boot camp the evolution of conventional education?

Who knows.

Are non-traditional hires undervalued?

No (not that I’ve seen, anyway). After the first 3 months, no one cares how you got hired.

  1. Is a four/two year CS degree worth it in 2019?

Absolutely without a single doubt. I’m studying to get my bachelors of science in CS and the school I attend is an ABET(american board of engineering technology) accredited institution… meaning if I apply to Australia for example or NZ I qualify for their high skilled visa under the “accord”… where as without ABET accreditation, you don’t get the highly skilled visa… so it’s a big deal and if you choose to pursue a CS degree, ABET accredited is a must as you can go anywhere in the world and be recognized… plus most government positions at least in the U.S. require ABET accredited degree… always good to have options and be limitless so to speak… this degree is good insurance.

And my CS degree is relevant… we do mostly Java and C++, Oracle for DB… but working with assembly language programming is huge as you can boost the performance of your applications in a way no self taught can… my opinion. Also we cover extensive programming and projects in Javascript, HTML, CSS, OOP, DS and Algorithms in both Java and C++, Networking, React, Android Development… Also because of Calculus and the understanding of CS Architecture/Organization/Assembly language programming you would know how to create frameworks and even entire computer languages from scratch if you so desired… it’s a huge advantage… Also we go deep into application lifecycle development, load testing, unit testing… we have to complete a thesis (usually masters programs require, but my school makes undergrads do it). Super deep into design patterns… it’s all about performance.

So this all said, the comments of “in web development you don’t need a CS degree” is misleading… wouldn’t it be nice as a web developer to know how to create and manipulate frameworks/technologies to customize and maximize the performance of your applications?.. it’s worth thinking about, I know I did. If a technology doesn’t exist, you could possibly create one to fit the needs of your development goals… super hard work, but hey you learned the “know how” to do it… if you have a good memory haha… just my opinion.

Plus if you wanna go into AR, VR, Machine Learning and drive the cutting edge forward… you can do that with a CS degree completed… you know the math and everything in between that makes computers and networks tick from conception to today… just my opinion again.

  1. Can colleges keep up with the industry demand?

Mine does, can’t speak for others. The courses are updated yearly according to industry demand and focus. My university’s CS courses are developed and updated by Carnegie Mellon… so that’s good enough for me.

  1. Should coding boot camp cost $10k, $20k or $30k?

No, absolutely not. They are just like for-profit schools in my opinion. The projects I’ve seen from “top tier” bootcamps are just “okay”… they are not jaw dropping “wow”… something to consider. I’ve looked a lot into bootcamps this year in 2019 and spoke to several cuz I was thinking of supplementing my education with an “intensive” experience… but for me I learned it was wasting my money… but who knows… it might be good for some people and that’s good if worked for them. I think it’s just something you have to research yourself and come to your own conclusion… which honestly is the best way for anything… my opinion.

  1. Is coding boot camp the evolution of conventional education?

Not at all, the evolution is you… computers need input/instructions from a user to perform… today people have the power… (unless skynet comes self aware :wink:

At the end of the day, learning this and applying it is up to the individual.

  1. Are non-traditional hires undervalued?

I think so, all knowledge is connected and can be applied to any field using a different lens of experience, based on your experience that is. The more varied the knowledge, the more lenses you have to see and connect knowledge to apply to your goals. In software engineering, innovation is key… and what may be “non-traditional” should be traditional as computer science was founded on what man was able to connect in knowledge… my opinion… Hope it was helpful… Good luck and have fun!

1 Like

Never thought about that…I was gonna build new projects.

I see where you are coming from, but I would argue that value is just as hard to assess among college grads. There are a lot of developers out there who know the languages and frameworks, but are horrible at problem solving. Believe me, I’ve worked with my share.
Problem solving skills are harder to teach, can be BSed at the school level, and are the most importanrt asset in a recruit in most job settings.

Sure, but you have that same issue with any hire - college grad or not. At least with a college grad you know that they passed 4 years of classes and you know the reputation of the school they went to. That provides the hiring team some data that they are used to processing.